Friday Randomness

– Big Macs no more: Former President Bill Clinton has gone vegan

– A recent study found that fat acceptance blogs are likely to improve health outcomes for their readers:

Interviews with the respondents revealed many had experienced feelings of worthlessness, shame, crash diets, cycles of starvation and binge eating and laxative abuse before discovering the fatosphere.

“Having that support and feeling empowered, people slowly found that their health behaviours began to change dramatically. For example, many people suddenly felt confident to do swimming, something they would not have done before,” she said.

Put that in your fat-shaming pipes and smoke it, concern trolls!

Are crunches worth the effort?  A new study says probably not:

Despite the emphasis that many coaches, trainers and athletes themselves place on “core training for increased performance,” the authors write, “our results suggest otherwise”  — and in the process raise some intriguing questions about just how core strength affects fitness and whether a rippling abdomen, while attractive, is worth the effort.

I actually have some problems with this study, specifically the conclusions of the study.  While I agree that crunches are deeply overrated as a core workout – it’s one of those exercises whose benefit tends more toward the cosmetic and less toward the functional – if you actually read through the article, it says that novice runners who took up a six-week core strengthening program saw improvements in their 5K times.  A strong core keeps you from getting tired and also helps protect you from injury.

My completely non-professional recommendation?  Don’t waste your time doing 500 crunches a day.  If you really must do crunches, make your effort count and bring some resistance into play.  And investigate some of the other core workouts out there, like this one from Runners World, which I started doing yesterday.

– Even just a tiny bit of regular exercise can have a positive impact on your health:

The study found those who exercised just 15 minutes a day – or 90 minutes a week – cut their risk of death by 14 percent and extended their life expectancy by three years compared with those who did no exercise. Both men and women benefited equally from the minimum activity.

Of course, it would have been awesome of they modified “risk of death” to mean, I don’t know, “premature death”?  Because in the end, isn’t risk of death actually 100%?  Anyway, the point is, you don’t have to be like me, as I am admittedly on the higher end of the curve when it comes to amount of time spent exercising, to see benefits of physical activity.

– In case there was ever any question about the purpose of Bikini Basketball Entertainment – which is actually different from the Lingerie Basketball League, because, you know, we totally need two organizations dedicated to women playing sports in their skivs – check out this:

Now comes Bikini Basketball Entertainment, set to debut on pay-per-view on August 17.

The article is actually really interesting, with quotes from Dave Miller, a roller derby commentator and blogger, and Colleen Westendorf, an organizer with SlutWalk Toronto.  I still am of the opinion that women’s lingerie sports are embarrassing and make a mockery of the actual athleticism of the women, but I think Westendorf makes an interesting point about the way we divide athleticism and sexuality:

“We need to question the idea that it’s athleticism or sexualization at opposite ends of a continuum, and why we jump to that conclusion,” she tells us. “We also need to consider the more insidious, commonly-argued perspective that female sexuality on public display is in all cases a bad thing for women everywhere, which seems to be informing this issue to a degree.”

My main argument with this is that much of what passes for sexualization for women actually seems rather absurd to me.  I mean, think about a “sexy woman pose,” then imagine a guy doing it.  Looks stupid, right? We don’t really take women’s sexuality seriously, and it shows in our cultural definitions of what it means to be a sexy woman.